Now that it’s almost time to bid adieu to 2020, Google is taking a look back at the moments and questions that defined the past year. In addition to rounding up search trends in various categories, Google’s Year In Search 2020 interactive experience is a fun way to check out what people were browsing most during what was a very unconventional 12 months. From trending searches about the election, supporting small businesses, and helping the Black Lives Matter movement, Google’s findings show people were more tuned in to current events than ever.
While it’s not the first time Google has done an end-of-year round-up (since 2010, the tech giant has annually released recap videos showing what people were browsing the most that past year), it marked a decade of doing so on Wednesday, Dec. 9, with the launch of a 2020 video and an updated interactive feature that expanded upon last year’s interactive in-video tool, according to Google.
It’s no secret 2020 was one for the history books with a global pandemic, a contentious presidential election, racial unrest and conversations about how to be antiracist, and many natural disasters — so Google decided to also unveil a tool that allows people to click on different categories depending on what kinds of insights they want to see. In addition to sharing lists of the top trending actors (Tom Hanks), musicians (Shakira), and people (Joe Biden) from the past year, Google used data from searches conducted from Jan. 1 through Nov. 10, 2020 to come up with about 50 Google Trends insights to put in an interactive experience, according to Google’s provided methodology — and there are so many interesting findings.
When you go to the Google trends page for 2020, you can scroll to the bottom and click, "Explore the trends that captured our attention in 2020." From there, choose, "Take me to the trends." Next, you’ll see insights for terms that saw a spike in search interest as compared to 2019, such as the phrases "how to be an ally" and "how to donate blood." At the bottom of the fact page, you’ll see two different categories to choose from to get to the next trend, for example, you can choose between "nostalgic" or "thankful." As you choose different terms and tap through the interactive experience, you’ll see colorful slides, charts, and videos helping you to explain the trends. You can keep clicking through until you’re done with all 50.
Unsurprisingly, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic factored into a lot of this year’s searches as people overwhelmingly browsed phrases like "support small businesses," "how to donate," and "how to be a teacher" in 2020. As the United States started opening up after lockdown, Google found users searched "NBA bubble" more than "stock market bubble," showing an interest in how sports could operate during a pandemic. People also seemed to tap into the general unrest of the times, as searches for "insomnia" grew more than ever before.
With a renewed focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, Google found people searched "how to be anti-racist" more than "how to be a millionaire." People also looked for "Black restaurants near me," "protests near me," and the term "Black Lives Matter" was searched five times as much as in 2019. Meanwhile, searches "What is systemic racism?" reached an all-time high.
Google’s interactive feature also allows users to take quizzes to test their knowledge on some of the most-searched phrases, such as the kind of food people baked the most at home in 2020 (Hint: it’s not banana bread). With categories like "magical" and "calming" to choose from, you’ll want to head to the Google trends page to take a look at the questions, people, and moments that dominated 2020 — and see how well you fare on the quizzes.
When you’re done with your interactive experience, you can also watch Google’s 3-minute "Year In Search" video recapping the past year.
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